AMD sneaks strained silicon into chips

Advanced Micro Devices has begun to incorporate strained silicon into its processors. By adding strained silicon, AMD will be able to give its processors a high performance boost. It won't be until the fall of this year that consumers will benefit from this technology.

AMD will be using the strained silicon process in its upcoming 90nm processors and future 130nm processors. Strained Silicon is a manufacturing technique that can boost processor performance by 20 percent; it's done by applying material, such as Silicon Germanium to silicon wafers. This stretches the distance between the silicon atoms in the transistor, and because the atoms are moved further apart the atomic forces that interfere with the movement of electrons are reduced - thus faster chips.

This process can already be seen in Intel's Prescott processors, and most probably some of IBM's processors. AMD have been successful in deploying this technology on their chips; interestingly, it was originally conceived by an IBM /Intel partnership. It took Intel a further 2 years to bring the technology to market on its Prescott line of chips (from announcement). If this technology does in fact improve the performance of a processor by 20% I'm all for it.

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